Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Regent's Park

Today we’re nobody,

our bodies curled in lazy parallel Ss

on the king’s carpet of flowers, under the sun.

Today we might be flowers ourselves,

gold and white and numerous

as the grass. We are pigeons

preening our purple feathers,

strutting to the water two by two.

We’re lovers, and the sky is bluer

than it’s ever been before,

and the city is teeming with stories

that we didn’t write and won’t ever know.

Look—there’s a girl in red tracksuit bottoms

by the water, with a hand full of bread.

The swan arches his neck, looks over

haughtily at the offering she brings.

(Is this the lake that swans came from,

before they flew into fairy tales

and turned into princes?) There’s a woman

in a sea-green sari, rhinestones at the edges.

The baby in her arms reaches out

for the swan and the bread, but she turns away,

whispers tsk-tsk in an unfamiliar tongue.

Let’s pretend we don’t belong.

Pick a language: French, German, ancient Greek—

today you could tell me the toast is burning

and make it sound like a caress.

Or I could murmur my own sweet nothings—

move right down inside the carriage please

in the sonorous tones of the loudspeaker.

With love on my lips, who would be the wiser?

Not the flowers, burnt orange gold that line the hedges,

nor the green and white branches that lattice the air,

snipping the sky into petals of lilac blue.

Not the swans. They wouldn’t notice.

The girl marvels at the touch

of the swan’s hard beak against her palm.

The baby tugs at the sari’s silken edge

and the mother dangles it playfully, sings

a tune too far away for us to hear,

even if we were listening.

New year, new direction...

Welcome to 2009, everyone! (I’m just going to take a moment really fast to panic about the fact that it’s 2009—my graduation year. That’s the year that pops up when you search for me on Facebook. That’s the year that I’m scheduled to become a Real Person. And it has now officially begun…ACK! Okay, panic moment over.)

I usually scoff at the idea of a long list of New Year’s resolutions. But for the past few years I’ve made one resolution, the same every year: to stick with my writing and improve upon it. That sounds like I never write at all after the first enthusiasm of the new year wears off. But that’s not true. I do keep falling off the wagon, of course, but I keep improving as well. Since I got serious about writing three years ago, I’ve accumulated a whole shelf of little bright vinyl-covered notebooks to prove that success. And as I look through these notebooks again, each seems a little more full of detail and creativity than the one before.

This year, however, I hope to put a little more accountability into the writing process. It’s true, I have all my tattered scribble books, but I’ve finished only a handful of pieces in the past three years, and most of those were rushed to meet a class deadline. If I’m committed to writing this way, then my ideas shouldn’t disappear into the black hole of my crazy notebooks and busy schedule.

So this is the form my New Year’s resolution takes this year: not to abandon pieces after that first page or first scribbled draft. For my Marker friends, that means I will be bringing things into workshop more often, as unnerving as that always is for me. And I also hope to post here a few of the poems, stories and essays that I’m working on. The God-talk and musings of these first few posts will probably also continue, since I’m finding to my delight that theology can be just as creative as poetry sometimes.

For the few of you who read this, I hope you’ll comment and tell me if there are any of these pieces worth keeping. And thank you for supporting me on this crazy journey. Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)